Thursday, August 10, 2017

Victoria, BC – VicPD’s fight against fentanyl took a new turn as officers discovered carfentanil mixed with heroin in a sample of drugs seized as part of an arrest.

“Carfentanil is about 100 times more potent than fentanyl,” S/Sgt. Conor King said. “There were over 900 overdose deaths in B.C. in 2016, and fentanyl played a part in many of those. While we were aware carfentanil may have already been here, this drug seizure confirms it.”   

Ion Scanner showing alarm for Carfentanil from sample

The carfentanil was discovered as investigators scanned samples of drugs seized during the arrest of two men in a joint investigation involving West Shore RCMP and VicPD’s Strike Force and Crime Reduction Unit.

One of the men taken into custody, Horst Francisco Schirmer, was wanted on arrest warrants for his violation of two sets of court-ordered conditions which included prohibitions for the possession of controlled substances, weapons possession and stipulations for house arrest. These conditions stemmed from a series of arrests earlier this year, and Schirmer is facing several outstanding charges related to drug possession for the purpose of trafficking and breaches of court-ordered conditions. This most recent investigation began with information that Schirmer was again breaching those conditions. Warrants were issued for Schirmer’s arrest.   

Schirmer and a second man were taken into custody on August 2nd, 2017 after West Shore RCMP initiated a vehicle stop in the 1000-block of Goldstream Avenue at the request of VicPD investigators. Members of VicPD’s Strike Force and Crime Reduction Unit attended and assisted in the arrests. A satchel containing drugs was seized.

Upon searching the satchel, officers discovered cash, drug paraphernalia, just over a half kilogram of cocaine mixed with fentanyl, methamphetamine mixed with fentanyl, marijuana, brass knuckles (which are a prohibited weapon) and a small packet containing a powder which resembled heroin mixed with another drug.

VicPD investigators processing exhibits in drug processing room

Given the dangers presented by fentanyl and other drugs, officers processed samples of each substance in VicPD’s new negative pressure drug processing room.  The substances were analyzed with a newly acquired ion scanner, which is commonly used to screen airline passengers for explosives and drugs. The ion scanner showed that this packet contained a potentially fatal combination of heroin mixed with carfentanil. This is the first confirmation that carfentanil is present in Victoria. Carfentail is used to sedate large animals (such as elephants) and has no medical application for humans.

Schirmer remains in custody, while the other man was released on a promise to appear. VicPD’s fight against fentanyl and carfentanil continues.

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